We interviewed Joseph Chapman, Technology Services Lead at Vantage Point Global on his experience and thoughts on diversity in tech.
In my role at Vantage Point, I am responsible for creating and expanding our technology service offering to assist companies in bridging their skills gap and attracting future technology leaders. My tasks include promoting our services to both external clients and internally, evaluating potential hires, designing, and delivering technology training programs, and providing expert guidance and support to clients throughout their experience with Vantage Point.
I did not receive any formal education in IT or technology during my school years and my exposure to it was limited and unsatisfying. However, my passion for the field was sparked during my music studies when I took a course called “Music on the Web.” The class was taught by an enthusiastic and supportive instructor who encouraged a group of us to build an online music catalogue. The project was abandoned, but the knowledge I gained from it fuelled my desire to learn more. I started with just a basic PC and a small book on HTML and gradually expanded my skills through self-study. My first two jobs after university gave me the opportunity to apply my newfound expertise, eventually leading me to my first official position in technology as a front-end web developer.
Yes, there is a widely recognized lack of diversity in the IT and tech sector. Studies have shown that the industry has a disproportionate representation of white and Asian men, with limited representation from women, people of color, and individuals from other underrepresented groups. This lack of diversity not only limits the talent pool, but it also has negative effects on the creativity and innovation of the industry, as well as the experiences of employees who are underrepresented in the workplace. Addressing the issue of diversity in tech is crucial for creating a more inclusive and equitable industry.
There are several factors contributing to the lack of diversity in the IT and tech sector, including unconscious bias in hiring and promotion, a lack of representation and role models from underrepresented groups, a homogeneous corporate culture, and a narrow recruiting pipeline that does not effectively reach or attract diverse talent.
Addressing these issues requires a multi-faceted approach, including increasing diversity and inclusivity in the workplace, improving access to technology and education for underrepresented groups, and actively working to dismantle systemic barriers to diversity in the tech industry.
I think of diversity as referring to the presence of differences among individuals, such as differences in race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, and abilities. Inclusion is the active engagement and empowerment of diverse individuals, ensuring that they feel valued, respected, and supported. Diversity and inclusion aim to create a more equitable environment where all individuals have an equal opportunity to succeed and be recognized for their unique qualities and contributions.
Fortunately, I have not experienced personal discrimination in the workplace, nor have I knowingly experienced intentional discrimination aimed at others. However, I think many of us are guilty of unconscious bias even when we have the best of intentions.